And our Last Word In Business is an update on the campaign against the scourge of cheap food. This really is a problem in the minds of small-business people. Think about how giant stores have crowded out local retailers.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
But in this case, the giant food is local. It's the $1 slice of pizza, which has been a tradition in New York City for many, many, many years.
NPR's business news starts with a climb in consumer debt.
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INSKEEP: Household borrowing is on the rise. It gained 2.1 percent last quarter, which is the biggest gain since the fall of 2007 - which is to say, the biggest gain since before the financial crisis peaked. A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says consumer debt held by American households has reached $11.5 trillion.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Duck Derbies are very popular in Wisconsin. And because they involve placing bets on rubber duckies dropped into a fast-moving river, they are technically illegal, though not for long. Wisconsin lawmakers passed a bill yesterday exempting rubber duck high-rollers from a ban on gambling. Participants in the Ducktona 500 in Cheboygan Falls can now breathe easy as they put a few dollars on Lucky Duck number seven. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This will just have to count as one of the wonders of nature. A Michigan power plant dumps a lot of warm water into Lake Erie. The warm water attracts fish. The fish attract bald eagles. Almost 200 of them have been nesting at the DTE Energy plant. It is not so easy for people to gain access to the massive plant. So the company holds an annual lottery for bird watchers who want to see our national bird in its 21st century habitat.
Let's talk next about Iraq. Not the violence there, but the other thing the country is - for better or worse - quite famous for, oil. An ethnic group that controls a large slice of Iraq also control some of the oil, and this group, the Kurds, have found a way to export the oil while bypassing the rest of the country, including the central government - which is not happy.
Ben Lando is the editor-in-chief of the "Iraq Oil Report," and has been covering the story. Welcome to the program, sir.
A leader of the U.S. manufacturing sector is calling on Congress and the president to put aside their differences. Jay Timmons, who is head of the National Association of Manufacturers, would like to see some progress on the president's trade agenda.
Chuck Quirmbach of Wisconsin Public Radio reports.
Here's a reality. Of the individual insurance plans being offered under the Affordable Care Act, the price you pay for the same coverage may vary tremendously depending on where you live. In fact, you may well be paying three times as much for the same insurance as somebody else in a different part of the country.
We know this thanks to Jordan Rau. He's a senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News and he ran the numbers. He's in our studios. Welcome to the program.
The Treasury and Justice Departments issued guidelines, last week, allowing marijuana stores to do their banking like any other small business. The new rules assures banks there will be no retribution if they provide financial services to state licensed firms that provide medical or recreational marijuana. Banks are still not so eager to play since the drug is still against federal law, which leaves legit pot businesses dealing mostly in cash.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, has become a powerful advocate for children's education. She toured a refugee camp in Jordan along the border with Syria. Malala and Shiza Shahid, the CEO of the Malala fund, spoke with Renee Montagne about the desperate need for more schools and educational opportunities for children of Syrian refugees.
When workers at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga narrowly rejected the United Auto Workers in a recent vote on whether to unionize, it was a stinging setback for a labor movement looking for a big organizing victory in a Southern state.
On a Wednesday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
And I'm Renee Montagne. President Obama arrives in Mexico today to meet with Mexico's president and Canada's prime minister. It's been dubbed the meeting of the Three Amigos. The one day summit of North America's leaders will focus on trade and commerce, but also on the agenda: security, energy, border issues and immigration. NPR's Carrie Kahn is in Toluca near Mexico City, where the summit begins later today. Good morning.
As Ukrainian riot police tried to clear thousands of demonstrators camped out behind barricades on the capital's Independence Square, protesters responded with rocks and Molotov cocktails. It was the deadliest day since pro-Western demonstrators took to the streets last fall to protest the pro-Russian president's decision not to sign a trade deal with the European Union.For more, Renee Montagne talks to the BBC' David Stern.
In Sochi, balmy weather has bedeviled some snowboarders and skiers. The snow is sometimes, well, slush. But inside the Winter Olympics' arenas, the ice is universally praised, though it's taking some work to keep things cool.
It's not the heat, it's the humidity that's leading ice makers to work overtime at the games.
That's paid off, because athletes in Sochi have been gushing about the ice.
The FBI is now part of the investigation at the University of Mississippi where someone draped a Confederate-style old Georgia flag and tied a noose around the statue of James Meredith. That statue commemorates the enrollment of the first black student at Ole Miss in 1962, which led to riots. Sandra Knispel, of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, reports.
Los Angeles may be known for its celebrities, glitz and glam, but the city's mayor, Eric Garcetti, is focused on something decidedly less flashy: infrastructure.
Take the city's airport LAX, for example. You'd be forgiven for mistaking its terminals for a cramped bus station. And stepping out onto the curb can feel like an assault on the senses, with the horns, aggressive shuttle drivers and travelers jostling for taxis.
Coffee is important to many of us, but let's say your coffee maker breaks. Finding a new one is as easy as typing "shop coffee maker" into your browser. Voila — you've got models, prices and customer reviews at your fingertips.
But say you need something less fun than a coffee maker — like a colonoscopy. Shopping for one of those is a lot harder. Actual prices for the procedure are almost impossible to find, and Bob Kershner says there's huge variation in cost from one clinic to the next.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:03 am
The countries that send large contingents to the Olympics love to watch the "medal count" tally. But as of late Tuesday at the Sochi Winter Games, the countries with the most medals didn't have the most gold medals. That's why by some counts, Germany and Norway were leading the way, while the Netherlands, U.S. and Russia all trailed.
A few years ago, Missouri, like other states, was having trouble finding lethal execution drugs. Europe was balking, and U.S. drug manufacturers didn't want a part of it.
So Missouri turned to a place called a compounding pharmacy to make up the needed drugs based on the ingredients. Missouri officials sent an employee to a place called The Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma, with thousands of dollars in cash.
Last week, George Lombardi, director of Missouri's Department of Corrections, explained to lawmakers why his employees had to go to such lengths.
In a mobile classroom — basically a trailer outfitted with a desk and some chairs — music teacher Chris Miller works with a group of active kindergartners dressed in green and khaki school uniforms. He teaches them the basics: musical concepts, artists and styles of music.
"Everybody repeat after me," he says. "Wade in the water." Kids sing back, "Wade in the water."